Impact Project Allows Students to Make Their Causes Known


Contributed by Jennifer Cheung

English teacher Mike Murphy’s Impact Project sends a clear message to his sophomore students: little deeds can make a big difference.

The iconic project is designed to encourage students to make a difference in the community for any cause about which they are passionate. The idea was once a school-wide initiative, but Murphy now assigns it to his sophomores each year.

“[The Impact Project] is inspired by the novel ‘Night’ by Elie Wiesel, which is a Holocaust story,” Murphy said. “There is a documentary that goes along with the book, and one of the messages of the documentary is to not let opportunities just pass you.“

Projects can be a simple action, such as a bake sale, or a more complex idea, such as a fundraiser for cancer research or a campaign raising environmental awareness.

“You want to be active in the world, making it a better place,” Murphy said.

This year, sophomores Jennifer Cheung, Alayna Lee and Jillian Sy created a project to raise awareness of the lack of human rights in North Korea.

“We created a rescue program through a non-profit organization called Liberty in North Korea,” Sy said. “The organization helps refugees escape North Korea and re-settle for a new life.”

Some students already know which causes truly interest and motivate them, but others have to discover an issue that has importance with them.

“[People] make fun of it as if it was a joke,” Lee said. “When in reality, people are brutally killed and tortured for no reason other then they have no freedom.”

To make their causes known, students are required to research their topic and present to the class.

Junior Conrad Pereira, who was in Murphy’s English 10 Honors class last year, raised money for cancer research and spread community awareness of the disease.

“Initially, I was reluctant to do the project, being at the forefront trying to create awareness for cancer,” Pereira said. “However, after completing the project, I felt proud and confident that I can make a mark in the world.”

The Impact Project deviates from average school projects, in which one would conduct research individually and create a presentation for the teacher or class.

Sophomores and drumline members Brendon Shao, Robert Dunning and Zaid Al-Nouman are creating a fundraising project for the school drumline. The students wanted to create this project because it will enable them to participate in more activities and trips.

As a whole, the Impact Project is a unique way for students to give back to the community.

“To have students go out and be inspired, creative, proactive and aggressive on their own and feel proud of it,” Murphy said. “It is the most satisfying part of the year.”